How to DRM the News?

It’s generally possible to lock down a media such as music or video because it requires equipment to actually play it. This is how many DRM systems work, by having security measures in both the media and the media player (Cory Doctorow gives a great run-down of how this system will always make DRM crackable).

What about news though? Twitter is becoming somewhat a secondary newswire these days, with media outlets cobbling together stories from information picked up off of Twitter, ‘breaking’ the story hours after the Twitterverse has moved on. This can also work in the other direction: ¬†Twitter can spread one factoid to thousands within minutes and could be the BitTorrent of news in a world where news is a paid for commodity.

If I paid to access the information behind the WSJ pay-wall, does that make that information private? If I reveal some of that information to others on the web is that theft of content, or copyright infringement? Granted if I lifted the thing verbatim and reposted it onto my cleverly named http://www.freewsj.com then fair enough, but what if I just found something interesting and quoted it, or discussed some figures that I saw. At what point am I giving too much of the subscriber content away to be fair use?

From the publisher’s perspective, do you control this? If so then how? Do you try to enforce some sort of screening algorithms to pick up on anyone writing something too close to your protected content? Or do you allow it in the hope that it will drive more traffic and more customers to the originating article? If you see it as viral marketing then how much should you allow out, and is there an issue if so much talk is generated that the whole article is essentially available in pieces anyway? How do you lock down something that is communicable across so many different platforms (and if we really have to, then without a technical platform at all)? The whole endeavour seems impossible. I hope it is.

Reference

European publishers want a law to control online news access – Ars Technica

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News Won’t Learn from Music’s Mistakes

The news industry has been kicking up a bit of a stink that is reminiscent of the music industry in its digital infancy. They’re noticing a decline in advertising revenues and are pointing the finger at the internet for stealing away their advertising contracts. Similarly those news outlets that have an online presence are pointing the finger at Google and similar news aggregator services for making their content available outside of their originating sites meaning advertising never gets seen. On the other side of the argument the aggregators and index services argue that a large proportion of the news site traffic is because of their aggregators and indexing. It all sounds very similar to the music industry rallying against P2P for stealing their profits and streaming services for profiting off their content. The consumption patterns have changed, companies outside the circle that traditionally dealt with a media start filling the gaps, and then the old companies call for courts to protect them for being too slow.
Interestingly what is also comparable is the statistical debate; with music it was always the stats war between ‘P2P causes drops in profits’ and ‘P2P has no impact/improves profits’. With news, as the major companies claim that the internet has stolen all their revenue, stats start cropping up that in fact it may be many factors. You could argue that music sales declined due to multiple factors such as reduction in releases and the move from sales as albums to sales as tracks. With advertising revenue Robert Picard argues that it is not necessarily the internet, but the rise in other forms of physical advertising.
Over the last few weeks there have been calls from the news industries to implement essentially a DRM program across the net (ACAP) to control aggregators. News Corp have also implied that paywalls will soon be going up around their major properties. With the music industry’s recent admittance that their reaction to Napster could have been better it seems that just as one industry starts to come around, the other begins the whole process over again.

The news industry has been kicking up a bit of a stink that is reminiscent of the music industry in its digital infancy. They’re noticing a decline in advertising revenues and are pointing the finger at the internet for stealing away their advertising contracts. Similarly those news outlets that have an online presence are pointing the finger at Google and similar news aggregator services for making their content available outside of their originating sites meaning advertising never gets seen. On the other side of the argument the aggregators and index services argue that a large proportion of the news site traffic is because of their aggregators and indexing. It all sounds very similar to the music industry rallying against P2P for stealing their profits and streaming services for profiting off their content. The consumption patterns have changed, companies outside the circle that traditionally dealt with a media start filling the gaps, and then the old companies call for courts to protect them for being too slow.

Interestingly what is also comparable is the statistical debate; with music it was always the stats war between ‘P2P causes drops in profits’ and ‘P2P has no impact/improves profits’. With news, whilst the major companies claim that the internet has stolen all their revenue, stats start cropping up that in fact it may be many factors. With music you could argue that sales declined due to multiple factors such as reduction in releases and the move from sales as albums to sales as tracks. With advertising revenue Robert Picard argues that it is not necessarily the internet, but the rise in other forms of physical advertising.

Over the last few weeks there have been calls from the news industries to implement essentially a DRM program across the net (ACAP) to control aggregators. News Corp have also implied that paywalls will soon be going up around their major properties. With the music industry’s recent admittance that their reaction to Napster could have been better it seems that just as one industry starts to come around, the other begins the whole process over again.

Reference

AP to Aggregators: We Will Sue You | Wired

European publishers want a law to control online news access – Ars Technica

News Corp will charge for newspaper websites, says Rupert Murdoch | Media | guardian.co.uk

British music boss: we should have embraced Napster – Ars Technica

The Media Business: THE POOR CONNECTION BETWEEN INTERNET ADVERTISING AND NEWSPAPER WOES